(concluding from last week…)

Þrymskviða

…Senn váru hafrar heim um reknir,
skyndir at skǫklum, skyldu vel renna.
Bjǫrg brotnuðu, brann jǫrð loga,
ók Óðins sonr í Jǫtunheima.

Þá kvað þat Þrymr, þursa dróttinn:
‘Standið upp, jǫtnar, ok stráið bekki,
nú fœrið mér Freyju at kván
Njarðar dóttur ór Nóatúnum.

Ganga hér at garði gullhyrndar kýr,
øxn alsvartir jǫtni at gamni;
fjǫlð á ek meiðma, fjǫlð á ek menja,
einnar mér Freyju ávant þykkir.’

Var þar at kveldi um komit snimma
ok fyr jǫtna ǫl fram borit;
einn át oxa, átta laxa,
krásir allar, þær er konur skyldu,
drakk Sifjar verr sáld þrjú mjaðar.

Þá kvat þat Þrymr, þursa dróttinn:
‘Hvar sáttu brúðir bíta hvassara?
Sáka ek brúðir bíta in breiðara,
né inn meira mjǫð mey um drekka.’

Sat in alsnotra ambótt fyrir,
er orð um fann við jǫtuns máli:
‘Át vætr Freyja átta nóttum,
svá var hon óðfús í Jǫtunheima.’

Laut und línu, lysti at kyssa,
en hann útan stǫkk endlangan sal:
‘Hví eru ǫndótt augu Freyju?
Þykki mér ór augum eldr of brenna.’

Sat in alsnotra ambótt fyrir,
er orð of fann við jǫtuns máli:
‘Svaf vætr Freyja átta nóttum,
svá var hon óðfús í Jǫtunheima.’

Inn kom in arma jǫtna systir,
hin er brúðfjár biðja þorði:
‘Láttu þér af hǫndum hringa rauða,
ef þú ǫðlask vill ástir mínar,
ástir mínar, alla hylli.’

Þá kvað þat Þrymr, þursa dróttinn:
‘Berið inn hamar brúði at vígja,
leggið Mjǫllni í meyjar kné,
vígið okkr saman Várar hendi.’

Hló Hlórriða hugr í brjósti
er harðhugaðr hamar um þekkði;
Þrym drap hann fyrstan, þursa dróttin,
ok ætt jǫtuns alla lamði.

Drap hann ina ǫldnu jǫtna systur,
hin er brúðfjár of beðit hafði;
hon skell um hlaut fyr skillinga
en hǫgg hamars fyr hringa fjǫlð.
Svá kom Óðins sonr endr at hamri…

Stenkvista runestone in Södermanland, Sweden; depicts Thor's hammer.

…The Lay of Thrym

Straightaway were billy-goats driven into the dwelling,
hastened at the harness, they should run well.
Rocks were shattered, the earth burned with fire;
and Óðin’s son came into Giantsholme.

Then said Þrymr, lord of giants:
‘Arise, giants, and strew the benches!
Now bring for me Freyka as wife,
Njǫrðr’s daughter from the field of ships.

Walk beside this courtyard of golden-horned cows,
all-black oxen for the giant’s pleasure;
I own a multitude of treasures, I own an abundance of neck-rings;
it seems to me I lack only Freyja.’

It was the time when evening soon comes,
and ale was brought forth before the giants;
the husband of Sif ate an ox,
eight salmon, all the delicacies a woman should;
and drank three casks of mead.

Then said Þrymr, lord of giants:
‘Where have you seen a bride bite more keenly?
I have not seen a bride bite more broadly,
nor a maiden drink more in mead.’

The all-clever handmaid sat in there,
who found words against the giant’s speech:
‘Freyja ate nothing for eight nights,
so madly eager was she to come to Giantsholme.’

He bent under the head-dress, desired a kiss;
then he sprang back the whole length of the hall.
‘Why are they eyes of Freyja piercing?
It seems to me fire burns forth from her eyes.’

The all-clever handmaid sat in there,
who found words against the giant’s speech:
‘Freyja slept not for eight nights,
so madly eager was she to come to Giantsholme.’

In came the wretched giant’s sister,
she who dared to ask for the bride-free.
‘Give over the red rings from your hands,
if you wish to gain for yourself my affections,
my affections and all favours.’

Then said Þrymr, lord of giants:
‘Bring in the hammer to bless the bride;
lay Mjǫllnir on the maiden’s knees;
so that by the hand of Vár our togetherness is blessed.’

The heart of Hlórriða laughed in his breast
when the hard-minded one recognised his hammer.
Þrymr he slew first, lord of giants,
and all the race of giants he battered.

He slew the old sister of the giant,
she who had begged fr the bride-fee;
she suffered a strike for shillings;
the blow of the hammer for many rings.

Thus came Óðin’s son to his hammer again.

Is not Þrymskviða a wonderful poem? Thor loses his hammer (wink wink) and in order to retrieve it he must dress as a woman (nudge nudge) and almost marry a lord among giants. Loki seems awfully enthusiastic to dress as a handmaiden to assist- is it because he has no problems with genderbending, or is it worth the potential humiliation to see Thor suffer worse? Who can tell?

Þrymskviða is only found in the Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda, dating from the 13thC. There is debate as to whether the poem is a ‘genuine’ work dating from the pre-Christian era (although how genuine anything scribed by Christians can be is a matter for debate itself) or a pastiche crafted as Christian mockery of the old myths. I prefer the idea that the Norse were willing to laugh at their gods, but there is a dearth of references to this story outside this poem.

I know my translation is weak in places. Sometimes this is to coerce the Old Norse into Modern English- more often, it is because I am not very good. If you have alternatives, please, to the comments! I love being corrected.